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Start of new year ideal time to review estate plan

Not many people enjoy thinking about the end of their life. Besides being an unpleasant thing to consider, it can bring up difficult decisions that may need to be made. Many people would prefer not to think about it at all, but that could be a mistake. Families here in Florida and around the nation can use the new year as a reason to update or create a new estate plan, to ensure that their assets are handled the way they want and that their final wishes are honored.

Some may mistakenly think that if they are young or don't have a lot of assets that they do not need an estate plan. If they wish to pass anything they own onto a spouse or another loved one, a comprehensive estate plan is essential. Taking note of exactly what is owned, such as a house, car, or stocks is a great first step. There are several options afterwards that can be utilized in order to complete an estate plan.

Creating a durable power of attorney for the purpose of handling property, finances and health care choices is a way to designate a specific person to represent the desires of the owner of the plan. Next, those who already have an estate plan can review their beneficiary designations, in case there have been any changes in the family. A living trust can be used to transfer any additional assets that do not have specific written instructions on how they should be managed. A last step that many often overlook is giving beneficiaries a way to access any important digital files, documentation or passwords. All of these measures can combine to ensure that an estate plan gives a complete picture of a person's finances and last wishes.

Florida residents who find this all a bit overwhelming have a way to get through the process. Consulting an experienced attorney may be the best way to determine what parts of an estate plan may have been overlooked, or to create a complete plan from scratch. Doing so can offer peace of mind that one's family and loved ones will be cared for should the unthinkable happen.

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